Career Story: Hospital Childcare Director

Hospital Childcare Director

Job Title: Childcare Director

Type of Company: I work for a childcare system within a system of hospitals and health centers.

Education: MA, Child Study, Tufts University •• BA, French, University of Massachusetts

Previous Experience: I have worked for 20+ years in the field of Early Childhood Education, first as a teacher, then as a teacher/ director of a cooperative pre-school and as a consultant and college instructor and trainer. Currently I direct a hospital based childcare center.

Job Tasks: My job is multi-faceted, which means that I have responsibilities in many areas, which keeps it interesting and challenging. I meet and orient all incoming families, introducing them to the center staff, environment and policies. I have ongoing contact with parents and sometimes meet with them to discuss issues with their children, often interfacing with teachers. Supervising the teaching staff is another significant piece of my job, and requires frequent classroom observations, conversations and meetings. Responding to their needs and helping to address conflicts and concerns is another part of my work with them. I also perform classroom duties with children when teachers are absent, so I continue to have direct contact with young children. This is not true for all center directors, but a small center works best this way.

In addition I am responsible for maintaining financial accounting and records, creating an annual budget, managing expenditures, and marketing the program. Marketing involves preparing written pieces for hospital newsletters, speaking directly at meetings and providing print materials for use in patient areas. I also oversee all maintenance and purchasing of materials and supplies. Because the center is located in a large research hospital I have to maintain contact with groups and departments here, to ensure continuity with the hospital's goals and needs.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are working with people; parents are grateful for our service and I am delighted to provide a truly warm and nurturing environment for their children. We work with patient families as well, which is especially sensitive but critical work.

The worst part of the job is spending time at the computer, entering enrollment data, etc. Many tasks (purchasing, enrollment, financial record-keeping) are computer-based, and so I find myself spending more time seated in front of a screen than I would like.

Job Tips:
1.) Be prepared for low salaries in this field, and only go ahead with it if you truly love young children.

2.) Management courses are usually not required for childcare directors, but I would have loved more preparation in this area. I currently benefit form workplace training and great HR support!

3.) Take time to take care of yourself if you enter the caring professions.

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